ATLANTA — The holiday season is picking up around Atlanta, and both some of the city's most high-profile attractions and its best hidden gems are finding ways to celebrate.

This is by no means a comprehensive list (because there's a lot going on around here throughout December!) but consider it a useful starter guide if you're looking for something memorable to do to mark the season:

  • Centennial Olympic Park Christmas market: Inspired by traditional German Christmas markets, the "Atlanta Christkindl Market" is going on daily at Centennial Olympic Park until Christmas Eve. It's free to enter and open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., and offers craft stalls, German food and other holiday gifts. 
  • Centennial Olympic Park Chinese Lantern Festival: This is open nightly from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday) and costs about $20 for adult entry. You'll get a look at handcrafted lanterns depicting more than 25 different kinds of land and sea animals in line with this year's theme of "Into the Wild."
  • Miracle Bars: An annual Atlanta favorite, the Miracle Bar organization takes over bars and turns them into winter wonderlands. You can find them at three locations - Parish in Inman Park, Tapa Tapa off Monroe Drive in Midtown, and BonTon off Ponce De Leon Avenue in Midtown. They deliver both great Christmas cocktails and an awesome setting for an Instagram post.
  • Menorah Lighting on Ponce: Organized by Chabad Intown, the lighting of a giant menorah will take place at Ponce City Market on Dec. 23 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Celebrate Kwanzaa - A Cultural Exploration: This daylong event will be held at the Children's Museum of Atlanta on Dec. 29, and features arts performances, a cooking class and readings by children's writer Mama Koku, among other things.
  • Deck the Hall at the College Football Hall of Fame: Starting Dec. 21 and running until Dec. 31, the hall of fame offers "bright holiday decorations and cheer, appearances from Santa and Fumbles the Elf, along with our must-see college football experience!" 
  • Girl Why You Dance Like That? Fusion From Africa to Hip-Hop: The 23rd annual staging of this holiday production takes place on Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. at the Fulton County Southwest Arts Center, and also features a Kwanzaa village that opens at 2 p.m. that day.
  • The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Okay, this is cheating a little bit - it's not really a holiday event. Still, it'll be a massive event on Saturday, Dec. 28 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium as LSU and Oklahoma fight to reach the college football national championship game. It starts at 4 p.m.
  • New Year's Celebration "Splashing '20s": The Georgia Aquarium is ringing in the new year Gatsby-style with a party beginning at 8:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve. General admission is $160 and includes a complementary selection of beers and wine, as well as a full buffet dinner.
  • Lunchtime Culture - Chanukah Favorites with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: The Breman Museum in Midtown will offer a free cultural program on Dec. 20 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Center for Puppetry Arts is staging an adaptation of the classic stop-motion animated special through Dec. 29.
  • Winter Wonderland - Celebrations & Traditions Around the World: Happening at the Fernbank Museum through Jan. 12, this exhibition offers a look at various winter celebrations from cultures around the globe.
  • Ujamaafest: The ninth edition of this summit offers cultural and family exhibitions stressing "cooperative economics & financial literacy which is a principle of Kwanzaa." It's scheduled for Dec. 29 starting at 1 p.m. at the Russell Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
  • Ugly Christmas Sweater Meet and Greet Party: Happening at M Bar Ultra Lounge at 186 Auburn Avenue on Friday, Dec. 20 starting at 9 p.m.
  • Garden Lights, Holiday Nights: Running through Jan. 11 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, this event lights up the gardens for a brilliant holiday experience.
  • Celebrate the Holidays at World of Coca-Cola: The attraction will have light displays, seasonal decorations and special holiday exhibits throughout the season. Great Instagram opportunity!
  • Intown Hanukkah Party: The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta is holding a community party on Dec. 25 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. with food, crafts and activities at Chabad Intown at 730 Ponce De Leon Place. 
  • The Nutcracker: The production is in its final year at the Fox Theatre, running through Christmas Eve. Tickets start at $35.
  • A Christmas Carol: This one runs at the Alliance Theatre through Christmas Eve, as well, the theater's 30th annual production of the classic Charles Dickens tale. Tickets start at $21.

Got any more? Send us an email at to let us know!


Mariah Carey's 'All I want for Christmas is You' finally hits No. 1 for first time ever

Griffin Police holiday program brings tears to shopper's eyes

'There's always somebody that could use a push': College student becomes secret Santa to families